This could be called a victory for ‘change now’, by a president called ‘Mr Normal’, going by the slogan and a nickname attached to François Hollande.
The first Socialist to be given the keys to France’s presidency since François Mitterrand left in 1995, has never even been in government, though he did lead his party from 1997-2008.
He has been President of the Council of the Corrèze department and was Mayor of its capital, Tulle.
This is where he took the plunge to get to the top, one year ago.
He said: “There is a time when ideas which incarnate change must come, and that’s why I’ve chosen Tulle, with you, my friends, here, to present myself as a presidential candidate, through the primary of the Socialist Party.”
Hollande is the same age as the outgoing conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy: 57.
First Hollande had to win his party’s nomination, and then he had to rally his rivals and detractors in the party to his cause, and pull it together, which others had failed to do before him.
He had made up his mind long before, and now threw himself into the campaign politically and physically.
He made contact, and combined a jovial style with the gravitas that would be expected of any head of state.
He said: “I imagine presiding over France is not a rest break, so I’m not campaigning intensely to become a pensioner tomorrow.”
His plan for economic relaunch includes a generational contract to help young people get hired on in companies that keep older workers on.
There is a 75 percent tax on incomes of more than a million euros per year, and the creation of 60,000 jobs in education.
He has made deficit-reduction conditional on growth, diverging from his predecessor Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel’s strict pact.
Hollande said: “I would renegotiate the treaty signed by the outgoing candidate and the heads of state and government. I’m in favour of being serious and disciplined about budgets. More than a year ago I said a balance should be found in 2017 for our public accounts.”
So Hollande enters the European arena as well, a president of the left among numerous powerful conservatives.
The father of four with ex-partner and presidential also-ran Ségolène Royal will take office now accompanied by French journalist Valérie Trierweiler.